Thursday Reflection Series: Bigger Better Baked Goods

pen-and-paper_400x295_39We live in a world where achieving dreams or fulfilling maximum potential is a driving force in each of our lives.  Dreams are meant to be chased and fulfilled. This is a wonderful thing: children are taught that the world is their oyster and anything is possible. We hang posters of our heroes on the walls of our bedrooms, we watch movies starring our favorite actors, we watch sporting events displaying the explosive talent of our favorite athletes. Regardless of the particular area of interest that fosters our dreaming, we grow up with an innate belief that we can achieve anything. Unfortunately, this is worldview is entirely flawed.

Growing up role-playing as my favorite sport star of the moment,  it seemed perfectly logical to assume that I could naturally develop the skills I pretended to have in my neighborhood games. Of course, all of us boys began to realize our natural limitations as time passed, a sobering reminder that impinged on the “if you can dream it, you can live it” perspective.

This brings us to the main focus of this particular reflection. Most of us lose hope in “dreaming” and “achieving the impossible” because the voices that typically encourage us to do so don’t truly know us and in the end don’t care about us. The more we come to grips with reality, the more we begin to see that the “just do it” slogans that perhaps at one time motivated us are really fake, empty and misleading. We begin to see the wizard behind the curtain and all of his selfish incentive to get on our good side by “encouraging” us to do and be more all the while lining his pockets and laughing all the way to the bank.  We see that the world has no room for the dreamer and has much more respect for the down to earth doer. While this might seem pessimistic, it is often the case. The more time passes, the more we realize that there are many things that we would love to do, but probably very little that will actually get done. Either “life gets in the way,” or we collide headfirst into our own limitations.

This glass-half-empty outlook is based on a steady string of disappointments. Throughout our lives we have come to the realization that life boils down to the hand of cards we have been dealt, and to think otherwise is to a naive, irrational dreamer.

It is no surprise, then, that many are put off by the claims and promises of the Bible and the Gospel of Jesus. Within the pages of the Bible we are repeatedly confronted with a God who tells us that we can do anything, and that nothing is impossible with God. We are told that all things are possible through Christ and with faith in Jesus Christ we can “move mountains.” That leaves most of us responding with an emphatic, “yeah…right!”  So, as one questions the possibility of a mountain being moved on faith alone, you might also be wondering how possible it is to transition from where we are now to where we plan to go.  As proof that miracles do still happen, allow me to introduce our focus of this series, baked good.

There is nothing more satisfying and mood-lifting to me than the smell of a bakery. The aroma that escapes the confines of a bakery is beyond distracting. Reading the Bible, I believe that God shares in my love of baked goods. In the Old Testament, after the Israelites were rescued from Egypt, as they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years, God provided a miracle “bread from heaven” that the Israelites dubbed “manna.” These were flakes that appeared every morning like that of morning dew atop the grass and, after collected, was then made into dough and baked. This sheds light on two crucial ideas that make me love God all the more. First, I learn that God will always provide for us. Second, God is a bread lover and shares my passion for fresh baked goods!

Yet, as much as I love to indulge in the tastes and smells of freshly baked pastries, I absolutely have no passion for baking. There are several reasons why I have fostered distaste for baking, but a strong taste for the finished results. Baking requires delicate care, attention to detail, and prolonged patience. These are three qualities that I regrettably lack, making me and the art of baking bitter foes, no matter how often I might make the attempt.

Often while looking at dreams or challenges impossible to surpass, we Christians revert more quickly to the logical sense of doubt that society has impressed upon us, than to the firm confidence in a creator God that has expressed his desires to achieve what we deem impossible. Because of my previously mentioned love of pastries, let’s look at this idea of the Creation questioning the Creator like a cake questioning the baker about its promised potential. If using this analogy, we can identify three sources of doubt that might pass through the figurative, albeit delicious, mind of a cake during the baking process. What we see is that the doubt of promised potential arises from:

Doubt in the Ingredients

Doubt in the Process

Doubt in the Baker

Join us every Thursday as we see explore what happens when our limitations are met with the limitless power and ability of God.

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